The Brothers

by Asko Sahlberg


A Shakespearean drama from icy Finland. Longlisted for the International Impac Literary Award 2014.

Finland, 1809. Henrik and Erik are brothers who fought on opposite sides in the war between Sweden and Russia. With peace declared, they both return to their snowed-in farm. But who is the master? Sexual tensions, old grudges, family secrets: all come to a head in this dark and gripping saga.

This is a historical novel in miniature form. It deals in dark passions and delivers as many twists as a 500-page epic. And if that were not enough, each character speaks in a distinct voice and expresses a unique take on reality.

Translated from the Finnish by Fleur Jeremiah and Emily Jeremiah.

112pp, paperback with flaps, £12.00
ISBN 978-0-9562840-6-8
Publication date: 30 January 2012

Press & Reviews

'Fine tension between the clarity and irony of the writing and the tormented emotional atmosphere.The dark battle between the brothers foreshadows civil war and the story offers an intense illumination of time and place.' Helen Dunmore, author of Exposure

'A brooding family drama that has something of the timeless quality of good soap opera' Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

'Intensely visual ... a brooding, atmospheric, Scandinavian late night movie' Independent on Sunday

'A heart-stoppingly intense historical novel of grand scope' The White Review

'This short, intense novel examines concepts of home, inheritance and the connection between personal and international conflict.' Times Literary Supplement

About The Book


Asko Sahlberg, born 1964, has acquired a fame in Finland that has yet to be replicated in the English speaking world. He published his first novel in 2000 and has written steadily since then, completing his ninth work, The Brothers, in 2010.


Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah form a multilingual mother-and-daughter translation team. Emily has an MA in Creative Writing and a PhD in German Studies. Fleur, her mother, is Finnish and has translated both fiction and non-fiction for many years. Emily and Fleur have co-translated work by numerous Finnish poets and novelists. They have translated three Peirene books: Peirene no. 7, The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg; Peirene no. 11, Mr Darwin's Gardener by Kristina Carlsson; and Peirene no. 16, White Hunger by Aki Ollikainen.